Realising that this problem had to be addressed, a team of researchers from the University of Pretoria, headed by Dr Vinet Coetzee from the Facial Morphology Research Group in the Department of Genetics, embarked on a project to identify the specific facial features associated with conditions in African infants and children.
As a starting point, the team needs accurate facial photographs of children with and without the condition. 3D images are ideal for this purpose as they contain information in a range of different dimensions, which enables researchers to identify key facial features more accurately.
A 3D camera setup, wherein all the cameras can be triggered simultaneously, produces images that can be used to build 3D models of the children’s faces. Researchers can then use these 3D models to identify distinct facial features associated with syndromes such as Down, Prader-Willi, Fragile X and Marfan in African infants.